Energizer Muffins

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I seem to post a fair number of muffin recipes. Which is odd, because I don’t generally eat a lot of muffins. But I guess when it comes to making my own recipes, muffins are one of the ones I like to make.

This recipe were inspired by a recipe on the Cookspiration App. Have you heard of Cookspiration? It’s a fun little website/app run by the Dietitians of Canada. It has different categories for the day and time you’re on the app, and gives you healthy recipe ideas!

Anyway I got started on this muffin recipe, and low and behold I was missing a few key ingredients. (expert baking tip: check your cupboard for ingredients before starting.)

So I had to make a few replacements and I was pleasantly surprised by the results.

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Energizer Muffins
These have proven to be a great energizing snack for my mid-afternoon slumps or just before a workout!

Makes: 12 muffins
Time: Prep: 15 minutes, Baking: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients

1 very ripe banana, mashed
1 cup grated zucchini
1 egg
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used Olympic 2%, but what you have will work!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins (or dried fruit of your choice)

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C) and grease or line a muffin tin
2. In a small bowl beat together the eggs, sugar, yogurt and vanilla.
3. Add banana, and zucchini and mix thoroughly.
4. In a large bowl whisk together the whole wheat flour, ground flax, chia seeds, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and stir until just moistened. Stir in raisins.
6. Fill muffin tins evenly. Bake for about 18 minutes* (*my oven is super over-hot so I baked them for 15 minutes, I always bake for less, check them and if they need more time put them back in).

Nutritionals: Calories 154, Total Fat 4.5g (polyunsaturated 2.6g), Fibre 3.7g, Sugar 14.9g, Protein: 4.7g

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They aren’t super sweet, which I like, but it only makes the sweetness of the raisins pop even more brightly. Enjoy!

Baked Oatmeal

I go to the gyms in the mornings, I habit I’ve finally cultivated and absolutely love. But it does make it tight for getting to work. This breakfast which I heard about through Fitting It All In, and found the recipe for at Kath Eats Real Food is making things easy.

Get home from gym, start the coffee, throw a “baked oatmeal square” in the oven and voila! breakfast is ready as soon as I’m done showering.

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Baked Oatmeal

Serves: 4

Ingredients
1.25 cups large flake oats
1 cup milk
0.5 cups egg whites
3 ripe bananas  (2 works as well, I just wanted some added sweetness)
1 tsp vanilla
Optional: sprinkle of brown sugar

Directions
1. Turn oven to 375. Mix oatmeal and milk and let soak. Spray a 9×9 inch baking dish.
2. Meanwhile mash 1.5 bananas and then mix with the egg whites and vanilla until well combined. Slice the other 1.5 banana.
3. Mix all ingredients together, and pour into baking dish.
4. Cook for ~25minutes – at about 20 minutes remove from oven and sprinkle on the brown sugar, this gives it a pretty “caramelized” look. (you might need to cook longer, my oven is quite hot for some reason).
5. Serve with favourite topping (the picture above is peanut butter of course). Enjoy!

Mushroom & Pumpkin Red Lentils

Recently I found myself feeling somewhat uninspired for what to cook. I looked through my cookbooks, and went about to see what ingredients I had on hand, when I noticed a few random food bits in my fridge that needed using up… a large opened can of pumpkin puree, a bag of mushrooms from the week before.

Inspiration struck. Using a flavour combination from a lasagne I’d made in the fall the following recipe came together. It’s delicious; a hearty comforting bowl of sweet and savoury flavours (along with some healthy things like fibre, protein and vitamins).

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Mushroom & Pumpkin Red Lentils

Serves: 4 hefty servings
Time: ~35minutes

Ingredients
1-2 tbsp olive oil (I used ~1.5)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
5-6 crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp each sage and thyme
Sprinkle of pepper
1 cup pumpkin puree
1.25 cups red lentils (could use 1 cup easily, I just overfilled the cup as I was pouring)
2.5 cups vegetable broth

Instructions
1. Heat the oil on medium heat in a pot or large sauce pan, add the onion and stir cooking for 1-2 minutes.
2. Add the mushrooms, cook until mushrooms have reduced and browned, and onions are translucent 3-5 minutes.
3. Add spices, mix in followed by the pumpkin puree and the red lentils stir it all together a little (just makes adding the broth easier).
4. Add broth, stirring thoroughly so there are no lumps of pumpkin puree. Turn heat up and bring to a boil, turning it down and simmering for 15 minutes or until lentils are cooked through.
5. Serve over rice, or enjoy with a piece of naan bread!

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Spicy Almond Sauce

So I had a fantastic weekend in Vancouver last week. It was sunny, it was spring-like, and I was surrounded by friends and family, so what could be better?

Anyway, what I want to share with you guys today is the recipe for the spicy almond sauce from last week that I showed a peek of.

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Yup, I’ve been having lots of it. I actually made a big batch that can sit in my fridge and I can use for an easy meal any time.

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Spicy Almond Sauce
Makes roughly 9-10 2 tbsp servings.

1/2 cup Almond butter
1/2 cup water
1-2 tbsp Siracha (or other hot sauce of your choice)
1-2 tsp soy sauce**

1. Mix all ingredients together until they are a consistent colour. (I used a blender, easy-peasy).
2. Enjoy! Over noodles, vegetables, rice, edamame, or whatever floats your boat.
3. Store in jar or airtight container in fridge.
** I’m not a big fan of lots of soy sauce, it was such a strong flavour. If you like a more salty flavour though, swap out some water for more soy sauce.

Notes: you could totally use any nut butter in this (hmmm spice peanut sauce anyone?) and adjust the ingredients to taste. I found equal parts almond butter to water to be the best ratio but you could definitely add more or less for a different consistency.

Whole Wheat Flax Bread

I’ve been on a homemade kick. Basically all day Sunday I can be found in the kitchen, whipping up something. I’d forgotten in the past couple years of too-much school, and too-much stress, and too-little downtime how much I love to just play around in the kitchen. Get my creative juices flowing. (Also living at home, my dad really likes cooking so sadly I was ousted from that responsibility.)

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I’ve been making lots of bread lately. There is nothing as fantastic as homemade bread. Fresh from the oven, slathered in butter (or peanut butter, both are delicious choices).

I originally based my recipe on this one. The bread from Foodess’ recipe looks sort of like the photo below when sliced:

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The recipe always made a hell-lotta dough, and I’m only one gal so I started simply making smaller batches. I know baking is an exact science, but for some reason, I just don’t listen to the rules. I did use similar ratios of water:flour, but I also just add flour until it gets the dough to the right consistency.

Here is what I’ve been eating recently though:

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Whole Wheat & Flax Bread

Ingredients
1 tbsp yeast
1 tsp salt
2 cups lukewarm water
2 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cups white flour
0.5 cups ground flax seeds

Directions
1. Place yeast, salt and water in a large bowl. Add flour, and with a whisk mix together. Continue to add flour until all is mixed. As the dough becomes tougher, switch to spatula, then your hands (sort of kneading) so that all the flour is mixed in.
2. Place dough in a bowl (I oil the bowl + dough a bit so it doesn’t stick), allow to rise for 2+ hours (Mine probably sat for 3.5 or so). Once doubled in size, punch down, then allow to rise again (can be placed overnight in fridge if you like as well, it is this overnight rise that I believe really leads to the more “artisan” type loaf).
3. After the second rise, divide in half. Shape both halves into loaves and allow to rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 400F about 20minutes before you want to bake the bread. Place a small baking pan in the oven at this time. When you put the loaves into the oven, pour water into this baking pan, the steam helps make awesome crust. Bake for 15 minutes.
5. Before you cut into a fresh loaf, wait a good 15-20minutes! I’ve had many a crushed and misshapen loaf of bread due to impatience. So wait a little while; it will still be warm and melt that butter perfectly, don’t worry.

And voila! Delicious homemade bread!

Confession

I have an embarrassing confession.

Embarrassing because I’m a dietitian, and really should know better about some things, you know? It started because I’d been feeling pretty tired and run down for quite some time. A part of it has likely been due to being burnt out, but still I wanted to eliminate any other possibilities.

So I went to the doctor and asked for some blood tests. We chatted, I said I was the dietitian in town, and when I told her what I was thinking might be up she asked me, “So if I need to send you to a nutritionist, who would I send you to?” (She was joking, I think)

But about a week later, the results were back, and indeed as I suspected my iron was low. I’m not anaemic, but I am on my way, the iron storage molecules, or the ferritin as it’s called was low.

I’ve been a vegetarian for going on 10 years now. And I’ve also always been very active, lots of running, that sort of thing. That combo (and being a woman) often leads to low iron, if not anaemia. And while I watch what I eat, I was paying more attention to balanced macronutrients rather than getting iron-rich foods.

So what did I do? I’m supplementing for now, but I’m also increasing my intake of iron rich foods; beans, legumes, pumpkin seeds and dried fruit. I’m also watching my intake of Calcium foods (bye-bye cheese!).

And this prompted a remake of my roasted vegetable soup!

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The change? Instead of coconut milk, I used beans, along with the red pepper and tomatoes for Vitamin C powerhouse (vitamin C is iron’s best friend when it comes to absorption!).

Red Pepper, Tomato & Bean Soup

Ingredients
4 Red peppers
4 ripe tomatoes
4-5 cloves garlic
Olive oil, salt and pepper
1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth

Directions
1. Slice tomatoes, peppers in half, drizzle with olive oil and roast in 400F oven for 30-40minutes. Roast the garlic as well, covering the cloves in tinfoil, and removing closer to the 20-30minutes mark.
(at this point you can allow to cool and store in the fridge until you want to make the soup, or make it all at once…)

2. Place half of everything (vegetables, garlic, beans, and broth) in a blender. Puree until smooth, and transfer to a pot. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

3. Bring to a boil (just barely, you don’t want that burnt tomato taste), then lower heat and allow to simmer for 15-20minutes.

4. Serve!

Notes: This soup definitely has a different texture, not as creamy. It is very hearty and filling though.
Variations: I actually wanted to try it with the squash, not the tomatoes, but there wasn’t any left at my grocery store here! Both Red peppers and Tomatoes are strong in vitamin C, so you could use one or the other and replace the other vegetable with something like squash, or sweet potato for a very hearty and filling soup.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

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I made this soup earlier this week when I had some friends over for dinner. Originally my plan was lasagne, but after talking with another friend over the weekend (and she mentioned how she’s been making this roasted vegetable soup) I changed my mind.

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So on my way home I stopped at the grocery store to pick up the ingredients. Honestly it was a bit of a whim, but I threw it all together, and what do you know, it turned out amazing. Creamy (I did use coconut milk), flavourful, delicious but simple

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Squash Soup

Ingredients
4 Red Bell Peppers
1 Medium sized squash
4-5 cloves of garlic (<—you could totally use an entire bulb, go for it!)
1-2 tbsp Olive oil
1 can coconut milk
2 cup vegetable broth
Salt and pepper

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare the red pepper, squash, and garlic for roasting. De-seed the pepper, and squash, chop them into reasonable sizes. If using cloves and not an entire bulb of garlic, peel. You can cover in olive oil in a bowl for an even coating, or simply go chef style and sprinkle some on once the veggies are on the baking sheet.

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2. Roast the veggies until they are tender. Probably 20 minutes or so. This step can also be done the night before you make the soup.

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3. Place about half the veggies, half the can of coconut milk and half the broth in a blender. Puree until smooth. Pour into a large pot on medium-high heat.
4. Repeat step 3 with other half of ingredients.
5. Heat soup for 10-15minutes until it February3 047is hot and fragrant.
6. Serve with fresh bread. This soup is also great a few days later, so bring leftovers to work and eat it in front of your jealous coworkers.

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Busy

Life always seems to get busy all at once. One thing changes, and in a domino like affect everything else has to change too.

For my RD internship I’m back in a fast paced clinical setting, and I’m preparing for next week when the pace picks up even more as I begin my rotation in the hospital ICU (Intensive Care Unit). I have 10+ page papers to read every night (very very dry papers), I’m trying to make sure I fit in time to exercise (am now getting into the AM exercising, the transition has been good and I’m loving it!) and within all that blogging has fallen to the wayside.

And fortunately I forgot all my readings at work (uh-oh weekend will be busy now) or there might not have even been a post tonight.

So in apology for no posts until Thursday this week I am giving you a recipe.

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Banana Bread! A classic but a goody.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup white flour
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 mashed bananas (1.1/2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350* and grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl mix together rolled oats, whole wheat flour, white flour, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda.

3. In a smaller bowl mix together brown sugar (I like to put the brown sugar in wet ingredients as I find it mixes better) mashed bananas, egg, vegetable oil, and vanilla.

4. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour into loaf pan, and bake for 1 hour, checking around 55min to see if it’s down (poke a toothpick or knife into the center of the loaf and if it comes out clean it is done.

Perfect with a little bit of buttah.

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Enjoy, in sunshine or rain.

Now I must be off, I remembered I have one article I can read tonight. So I might as well be a little productive, right?

Orange you…

Glad I didn’t say banana?

Oh well, it was worth a shot.

I know I was glad it was such a beautiful weekend. I enjoyed it thoroughly, trail running, skiing, walking, napping the sun. Actually I didn’t really do any napping.

Instead I did some baking. I had to, you see, my mom was teaching one of her last classes (she’s prof you know, at the local university) and she had promised baked goods. She’d planned on an early rise to fetch said baked goods before class, but I intervened, always searching for any excuse to bake and not be stuck with too many delicious baked goods so close at hand.

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We had an awful lot of oranges on hand due to a recent Costco purchase, so I wanted to use oranges in the recipe.

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I scoured the internet for a delicious baked good staring this citrus fruit, and found this recipe, a la Ina Garten. Only I had to make a few adjustments based on what I had on hand (see below for what I did).

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They turned out perfect really, good enough to eat.

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Which I didn’t get to do, since I made them for my mother’s starving students.

Recipe after my adjustments:

2 cups all pastry flour (or all purpose)
1/8 cup white sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp orange zest
~1/2 cup cold butter diced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cold milk + ~1tsp vinegar
A bit of orange juice for the top of the scones.

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 400*, grease a large baking sheet.
2. In a small bowl, or glass measuring cup, mix together milk + vinegar, replace in fridge allow to sit until needed (this creates the buttermilk by curdling the milk)
3. In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and zest, add in the diced butter and mix at a low setting, until butter is incorporated as small pea-sized bits. This can be done with a pastry cutter, knives or hands as well (though hands melt the butter, so very last option).
4. Add eggs to milk mixture, then add to the flour/butter mixture, until it forms a ball of dough.
5. Flour a clean counter surface area, and place the dough on the area. Using your hands or a rolling pin flatten dough to an inch or two thick. You can either make a circle and cut wedges, or use a glass or something to cut out round scones. I had 8 good sized wedges.
6. Place on greased baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 18-20minutes.

Enjoy!